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How PlanetSide 2 on PlayStation 4 is aiming to help new recruits

The Auraxis War wasn't going to restrict itself to PC forever. No, it was bound to spread to other avenues, with PlanetSide 2 teasing a move to PlayStation 4 for a couple of years. The time is almost here, with the Daybreak Games set to launch the console version of the MMOFPS later this month. Shacknews recently had the opportunity to check out some of the PS4 version in action, observing some notable changes and some interesting additions.

Let's get this out of the way now. Remember that there is no cross-play between the PlayStation 4 and PC versions of the game. While former creative director Matt Higby had previously indicated that the development team was looking into this idea, nothing came to pass. Ultimately, the long gap between PC updates and the certification process on console (as well as the issue of aim assist on consoles) made sharing information between PC and PS4 unfeasible. Because of that, PlanetSide 2 players on PS4 will be starting from scratch.

With that said, new players will find themselves in unfamiliar territory. For them, PlanetSide 2 will begin on an entirely new island called Koltyr. This is the essentially the tuturial world for new players, meant to avoid throwing them right into the fire of a full-fledged war. This new map is one-quarter the size of the average map, coming in at roughly 2x2 square kilometers. Everything about this new area is aiming to be friendlier to newcomers, right down to the time of day being shifted to daytime to help increase visibility. Play in Koltyr is not meant to be permanent, though, so players will be booted from the area upon hitting level 15. It shouldn't take too long to reach this point, since Koltyl will feature its own distinct player directives, geared towards teaching basic ideas like base capture.

The learning process will continue from there, since Koltyr's smaller size will mean a shift towards close quarter tactics. Moving to other continents like Amerish and Hossin will open the world further, opening the door for longer operations. Likewise, new vehicles and weapons will become available as the player ranks up, encouraging users to practice with the weapons they already have available. It should also be noted that hardened players coming in from the PC version looking to skip the introductory map will have the option to do so. These players can skip Koltyr entirely and jump into another of the game's other four islands at any time.

Many of the best elements of the PC version of PlanetSide 2 remain intact on PS4. With over a year and a half dedicated to crafting the console port, the development team's main focus was on streamlining the experience. That means making character creation a short and sweet process, with much of the minutae removed. After all, Director of Development Andy Sites pointed out, "If you can see the enemy's face, you're doing it wrong."

The controls have also undergone something of an overhaul to translate better to a Dualshock 4. When we last saw PlanetSide 2 at E3 2014, I was marveling over the intuitive nature of the infantry controls while I was watching tanks bump into trees and aircraft fly into mountains. The PS2 team likewise felt that vehicle controls needed some big-time changes, which is why they hired a new designer to help spearhead this effort. With flight simulation experience under his belt, the new designer worked in conjunction with members of the PS2 community to refine elements of flight, like controlling roll, pitch, yaw controls. The result appears to be a significant improvement.

Lastly, PlanetSide 2 will include its own depot interface. It'll mirror the PC offerings for players that wish to use Daybreak Cash to purchase items. Daybreak All-Access members are still entitled to their membership benefits, like the monthly 500 Battle Cash allowance, though new users will have to sign up from the Daybreak website.

The PlanetSide 2 beta on PlayStation 4 has opened up significantly since it first started, with servers open across the United States and Europe. While it started off with limited hours, these servers have since opened up to run 24/7. In addition to that, load times have noticeably improved from what they were when the beta first started. Other improvements can be found in the game's most recent update notes, which can be found on the PlanetSide 2 forums.

PlanetSide 2 is set to officially launch on PlayStation 4 on June 23. Those looking to jump into the action will be pleased to hear that a PlayStation Plus membership will not be required to play, an exception that Sony made for Daybreak. Beta users may be slightly chagrined to hear that their progress will be wiped when the game launches, but the development team is hinting that beta users will receive rewards in proportion to how many hours they spent in the beta. More details on this are expected soon.

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